Drop Sheet Patio Furniture Makeover

Joanne Miller
by Joanne Miller
6 Hours
Practical ... but ugly, my patio setting needed a makeover. I didn't have enough money to buy a new one and couldn't find ready-made cushions in colours that I liked. This required some lateral thinking!
I thought why not make my own cushion covers. I did some research on painting fabric and used a DIY approach, as I live in a small town with little access to craft materials. Glycerol (available from the Pharmacy) seemed to be a cheap and readily available product to modify acrylic paint for painting fabric.
I purchased a canvas drop sheet , two sample pots of Dulux paint (Riviera Sea and Mitchell Blue) and a small roller from a local hardware store and a small bottle of glycerol from the pharmacy. The total cost was well under $50 and I have paint and glycerol left over for other projects. I washed the drop sheet before I began. I measured the cushions and cut one piece of the canvas for the two seater lounge seat and another piece for the two single seat cushions (I cut it in half later). This made it easier to paint rather than trying to wrangle a larger piece of canvas.
I taped a plastic sheet to the floor and then taped the canvas on top.
I then prepared the paint. I did the green paint first. The glycerol to water ratio should be approximately 1:5. In other words, for every one part glycerol, use five parts water. I used the same ratio 1:5 ratio of glycerol mixture to acrylic paint. I started at the left hand side of the canvas and rolled the paint on in a straight(ish) line. I left a space two widths of the roller and then rolled the next line until I got to the end of fabric. I prepared the blue paint using the same glycerol process and rolled a first line three roller widths from the left hand side of the fabric and repeated this sequence until I got to the end of the fabric. This gave the effect of a green stripe, cream stripe and blue stripe. I deliberately let my stripes be slightly jagged and not even in spots. I think it adds to the charm and originality. It reminds me of a work of art rather than a piece of material I bought off the shelf. If you wanted a precise look you could use masking tape to tape out the lines.

I pegged the canvas to the clothesline to allow the paint to dry. Alternatively you could keep it lying flat until the paint dried. I then placed the material in the clothes drier for 40 minutes on high to set the paint. I then ironed the material on a dry setting as a further precaution to ensure the paint set.
I measured the cushions and sewed simple covers, similar to large pillow slips. I sewed on double sided tape at the open end.
With the left over unpainted canvas and a strip of painted canvas I made two small cushions for the single chairs. Sewing tip: use a strip of masking tape on your sewing machine to get an even hem on sewing.
Looking good
I used some existing lanterns, a couple of cushions and a bamboo runner to dress the patio setting. For well under $50 I now have a gorgeous patio setting that is unique.
Joanne Miller
Want more details about this and other DIY projects? Check out my blog post!
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